Remittances soar despite the pandemic

Kenya recorded highest remittances yet, despite the COVID-19 pandemic, signaling robust support for Kenya from the diaspora.

The Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) affirmed that remittance inflows were strongly buoyant in 2020, despite the devastation by COVID-19 (coronavirus) in the source countries.

“Remittances rose to a record high of sh3.094 billion (US$3,094 million) in 2020, from Sh285.23 billion (US$2,796 million) in 2019, an increase of 10.7 percent”, the statement read.

The statement further stated that in the month of December 2020 alone, remittances reached a historical peak of US$299 million.

CBK noted that this remarkable growth of remittances has been supported by financial innovations that provided Kenyans in the diaspora more convenient channels for their transactions.

The Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) will soon conduct the first-ever Diaspora Remittances Survey, in collaboration with Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS), the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) and other stakeholders. The survey to be conducted in February and March 2021, aims at collecting valuable information on remittance inflows to Kenya to help guide policy, with the objective of boosting the role of remittances in supporting the economy and livelihoods.

CBK said vital information sought includes the efficiency and cost of alternative remittance channels; the difficulties encountered in remitting cash or non-cash transfers; the availability of information to Kenyans in the diaspora about investment opportunities in Kenya; and the usage of remittances received.

The Diaspora Remittances Survey will be conducted online in two parts—the first phase will focus on the sources of remittances (remitters and the source countries) while the second phase will target the households that receive remittances.

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